Tips for Couples to Survive the Holidays
The holiday season is often fraught with inter-family stress, which in turn places couples in awkward positions. Dealing with this stress properly requires open communication and patience, which also happen to be two keys towards maintaining any long-term relationship.
To further help couples to manage the inevitable holidays arguments, Astroglide's Twitter followers offer some tips on things you should or shouldn't say to your partner:
Don't say "It's your family, not mine." If you care about your partner, his or her family should be just as important to you. If they are just plain out there or tough to handle, suggest going to your family's house for Christmas.
Don't say "here we go again!" when an argument begins, especially if you're mid-slice of the gorgeous holiday turkey or ham. Don't risk a holiday fiasco with an audience to boo or cheer you on.
Don't cop out by saying you need "space." If you really have something specific to say, explain it in as considerate a way as possible. Besides, if you are away from home for the holidays, where would you go? Try to be as open and honest as you can.
Do actively listen to your partner, giving them time to finish their thoughts before interrupting/contradicting.
Never, ever say "It's not you, it's me!" Not only is it cliche, but if this is an out of the blue issue, your partner deserves a little more explanation.
"Despite the pressures of the holidays, it's important to remember the season should be a time of giving and joy," said Astroglide Relationship Ambassador, Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright. "Individuals that can properly navigate the holidays will encourage more fulfilling relationships with both their partner and their family." Dr. Fulbright provides her keen insight with several tips to help couples and family members work together to reduce holidays stress:
Avoid negative communication such as complaining, whining, or bullying which will only build resentment. Couples that are meeting their partner's family for the first time need to give each other open feedback in a supportive environment. Many people are irrationally protective of their families, so it's important to be careful when raising concerns or criticisms.
Explain family dynamics to your partner before holiday gatherings. Giving them some context into your passive-aggressive cousin or co-dependent niece will help you both handle any get-together.
Communicating positively means owning personal feelings, asking for details, and being comfortable opening up (whether it's a social concern or a sexual fantasy). Solid couples that are built for the long term are able to work together to confront and move on from any issues.
Avoid saying phrases such as "they're your family", especially if you're in a long-term relationship. Such language can wedge a gap between the two sides which can be hard to dislodge.
Be flexible in planning and accept your partner's family and their possibly odd holiday traditions.
Don't neglect your partner's needs! Find some time under the mistletoe or enjoy a quiet crackling fire to keep the spark going.